Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guest Blog Entry: Rob West

I have known Rob for quite a while now. We met through another friend and he joined my gaming group.

(Insert brief rant about how no one likes gaming stories, and yes, I'm going to tell a gaming story.)

(Here, have a song to go with it.)

The hooker had information. She was being harassed by the bad guy and she knew - while not what his plans were - where he'd been going. If approached AT ALL nicely or asked any specific questions, she would have dished out, the plot would have moved along.

Rob's character went over to talk to her. He managed to insult her, imply she was both stupid and ugly, and that she probably didn't know anything useful anyway. She wasn't happy, refused to cooperate, and left my players without a clear path as to where to go next. The other players razzed Rob a bit for this, to which he responded:

"I don't have the 'talk to prostitutes' skill!"

Oh, we noticed that...

(end gaming story)

Rob and I have been friends for going on nine years now, and I've known he wanted to write pretty much from the beginning. We used to have loud, angry arguments about writing. Primarily because he used to write me the most horrible, un-punctuated, terrible grammar, bad spelling emails. Ever.

Bad habits, to me, are, well, habit forming.

I believe that if you write bad emails, you'll write bad prose. Or, at least, writing well will no longer come naturally to you. (For instance, my bad habit of writing ellipses... or using parenthesis - or em-dashes! - in blog posts leads to my doing the same thing in stories, which I then have to EDIT OUT. Did you see what I just did there? did you?)

Rob does not believe that. He believes that he can wear sweat pants with holes in them every day, and still clean up nice and put on a tux for special occasions and be perfectly comfortable. As we're both published writers now, and we still argue about writing emails properly.

What are your greatest challenges in your writing career?

At the current point I am at in my writing career I would have to say not letting myself get burned out by doing too much at once, but at the same time not doing too little or allowing myself to get distracted too much by other activities.

When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a kid and I was lying in bed about to go to sleep I would always run stories through my head. Basically they were “episodes” of shows I liked where I made up what happened. This was where I knew I had stories to tell. Eventually those “episodes” became my own shows and those shows evolved into longer individual stories. I didn’t actually try to write any of these until I was a teenager and I had trouble keeping focused but I knew it was what I wanted to do.

Of your published works, do you have a favorite? Why?

My story “The Truth of the Hunt” in the anthology “Darkest Desires.” I really had fun with that story and loved the characters. I was able to write that one really quickly because it was just so perfectly formed in my head.

Are there any mistakes that you find yourself making regularly?

I will never be good at then vs than. I constantly get it wrong and have to edit it. Also commas are one of my greatest enemies.

Me: commas seem to be everyone's greatest enemy. 

Do you ever want to go back and edit an older story?

I have two storylines I want to return to when I finish my faerie series.

How do you decide on character names?

Sometimes the names just come to me as in the case of the two main characters in my faerie series, and sometimes I have to use name generators. It really depends on the character and the setting. With the characters in one of my older story ideas I have to just make them up as their names are unique to their species and no name generator on the planet could help with that.

Tell me about your first publication. Who was it with? How did you feel when you got that acceptance?

It was an erotic short story called Princess Illia. The anthology is called The Dark Hunger and is an erotic horror series. The main author/editor is a wonderful woman named Candy Crum who also has her own vampire series of novels out. When I got this story in it was amazing because it literally came before my first rejection. Then came the second and third stories I got published. All three of these together showed me that it wasn’t a fluke and that I might actually have a future in this business.

What's the worst thing that ever happened to you that you've incorporated into a story?

Listening to that old man tell his son he couldn’t have a Barbie doll because it would make him gay. I felt so bad for that kid and that scene managed to find its way into a very important part of my faerie story line. There are incidents in my life that are worse than this but I haven’t worked those into a story yet. I will if the situation arises that calls for it.

How much of your life and the people you know end up in your work?

Not so much as of yet but I do plan to do more with this. A character here and there is based on people from my life but just loosely.

What's your writing routine?

I do most of my main writing right after breakfast usually from about 9-12 give or take a few minutes. If inspiration comes at me later in the day I will of course jump on it.

What writers or novels do you consider “must reads”?

To anyone who likes Vampire stories the Eternal Hunger series by Candy Crum is a must read. This series needs to be where Twilight and The Hunger Games are right now. It is very deserving of it.

To anyone who likes Faerie stories I recommend The Faerie Path series by Frewin Jones

Of course for your epic fantasy I would Recommend The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Of course the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien.

As for my computer desk as you can see it's a mess. On the right are my faerie figurines who act act as Muses sometimes. I don't have nearly enough of them. In front of my monitor you can see the 5 gumball machine items in a row on the right and on the left my row of cowrie shells. Because Cowries are awesome. All of my published stories have come from this desk and the novel I am working on has as well. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest Post: Sommer Marsden

Bio and Pic shamelessly swiped from her website
Sommer Marsden’s been called “…one of the top storytellers in the erotica genre” (Violet Blue), “Unapologetic” (Alison Tyler), “…the whirling dervish of erotica” (Craig J. Sorensen),and "Erotica royalty..." (Lucy Felthouse for Blog Critics Books).

Her erotic novels include Restless Spirit, Big Bad, Angry Sex, and Hard Lessons. Sommer currently writes erotica and erotic romance for Xcite Books, eXcessica, Ellora's Cave, Pretty Things Press, Resplendence Publishing and Mischief Books. The wine-swigging, dachshund-owning, wannabe runner author writes work that runs the gamut from bondage to zombies to humor.

Sommer's short works can be found in well over one hundred (and counting) erotic anthologies. Her short stories have also been included numerous adult and romance magazines--both in print and online.

Now, my person first experience with Sommer was this... not exactly an endearing first moment. (I originally didn't post her name in connotation with the entry because I was afraid she would think I was a complete spaz. I am. But now, knowing her quite a bit better, I'm thinking she'll probably get a bit of a laugh out of it. I admit to being the tiniest bit jealous that my husband will read her erotica, but not mine. Ack vell...)

So, that particular story was actually On the Fly and I submitted it for a newbie anthology that ended up getting cancelled in an "overabundance of real life." I know how that goes. I was assured by Sommer that, had the antho actually gone through to completion, I was in her "yes" pile. I submitted the story elsewhere and it was picked up immediately. And now... well, now I don't count as a newbie anymore, do I?

Last year, I got the opportunity to work with Sommer on a different collection, and I jumped at it. Pleased to say that Coming Together: Hungry for Love was a great collection, and I'm thrilled to be in it.
Yes, I'm in this

So, enough about me, let's talk to Sommer, shall we?

What are your greatest challenges in your writing career?

The chatter in my head. The voice that tells me I'm not good enough, not fast enough, not doing enough and not as good as so-and-so. I think we all have one, but mine is a real bastard. Getting him to shut up is a real feat.

When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I've always known. The first Winnie the Pooh story had me sold on the magic of story telling. I've never wanted to be anything else.

Of your published works, do you have a favorite? Why?

Wanderlust. I wrote it as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could live-write it and if folks would show up daily to read it. It ended up being the longest novel I've ever written and the answers to those questions were yes and yes. Yes, I could. And yes, folks showed up every day like the sun.

What are your biggest pet peeves for other people's grammar? Are there any mistakes that you find yourself making regularly?

I always get flummoxed by lay/lie etc. Otherwise I'm usually good. However, my brain often supplies to me what I meant instead of what I put on paper so I either have to proof aloud or I have to put something aside for a long period to spot my common errors. My nemesis is the comma. I often feel like I'm throwing them up in the air and letting them fall where they may. But I plod on despite this character flaw.

Do you ever want to go back and edit an older story? 

Almost always. It's why I rarely read my work once it's published.

How do you decide on character names?

Randomly. I will either glance around and find names on newspapers, books or even the TV or, since my family is used to my insanity, I just might yell, "I need a name!" The response will be, "Boy or girl? Fantasy or reality? Is this a main character?" Or similar.

What's the worst thing that ever happened to you that you've incorporated into a story?

My son had some health issues that were staggering and scary to me. I've never felt more helpless. I funneled those emotions into my book Angry Sex. My emotions at the time are clear in that book. The worry and frustration.

How much of your life and the people you know end up in your work?

A good amount but in small doses. So in a short story there might be a smidge of reality. In the next there might be a lot. In a book it could be a single line or half the content. It all depends and there's no rhyme or reason to it. I just go with the flow.

What projects are you currently working on?

I just started a new novella yesterday. I just wrote three short, fun, sex filled pieces as another persona. This thing came out of the blue and it's a bit darker, a bit more emotional and a bit more erotic instead of erotic romance. I'm excited about it. Sometimes the surprise projects are the best!

Sommer's work space
What's your writing routine?

Lately it's changed. A year ago my son started homeschooling. I used to have 8 blissful hours of uninterrupted alone time to work as I wanted. I had to reroute my brain. I usually get up, have coffee, get girl child off to school, come home, have a second cup and at 8 a.m. I attempt a 1k/1hr sprint. That way I know I've at least managed a chunk of work whatever the rest of the day turns out to be. I often get more writing time later in the day (or sneak some in in the evening) but sometimes I don't. So that 1k/1hr (it usually ends up to be between 2,000-2,500 words in that sprint) guarantees I get words on the page every day.

Is there a character or story that's stuck in your head and won't leave, from either your work or someone else's?

Ellis Bach, my werewolf extraordinaire, took a hell of a long time to vacate my brain after I finished the Big Bad/Long Lost books. And my zombie exterminators hang out and crop up to talk to me from time to time. So much so that I plan to write book #4 this year. As for other book characters, I must say I adore the whole crew in Janet Evanovich's books. I've been reading them so long they feel like family when I crack the current novel open. Repairman Jack from F. Paul Wilson's books is also a long time, close personal fictional friend of mine.

What writers or novels do you consider “must reads”?

Janet Evanovich, F. Paul Wilson, Gillian Flynn, Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King, Richard Kadrey, and more I can't remember!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Guest Writer Ada McEwan

Allow me to introduce Ada McEwan. I met her on Facebook last year when she was doing some fundraising for her local library where she works. She's a really sweet lady with an interesting swirl of dark sarcasm... We chat a lot on Facebook and she always leaves me with a grin.

When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to put pen to paper? 

I decided at a young age that I wanted to be a writer.  I had some poetry published when I was in junior high, but I wanted more.  When I was twelve I bought a typewriter, threw all my clothes out of my closet and put my desk in there and wrote. I wrote my first full-length novel about young love and heartbreak.  I know my parents thought I was just going through a phase, but my mother loved my story.  Her encouragement and support made me keep on writing.

How do you decide on character names? 

I base a lot of my names from Norse mythology and from the Germanic (Teutonic) people.  Every once in awhile, I will run across a name that just sticks in my head and I have to use it.

Tell me about your first publication. Who was it with? How did you feel when you got that acceptance?

“The Inheritance” was accepted into an anthology called “Bella Morte” for Hot Ink Press.  I was deliriously happy, I was so proud to be included with so many authors that I loved and admired.

How much of your life and the people you know end up in your work?

It isn’t necessarily about anyone in particular (ok, that’s a big lie, but I won’t say a name!) but I find a lot of the people and the indecencies done by mankind has always inspired me to write about it.  There are a lot of things out there that disturb and bother me and I really let my main character take care of it.  I always say, “For things I cannot change, I write about.”

What projects are you currently working on? Are you willing to share a small excerpt from a work in progress?

 Right now I am currently working on my Raven Hollow series.

Mara could see all the little girls’ faces, ranging from six to twelve years old. She could see the little face of Lilith, her face bruised and broken with tears not quite dry streaking the paths of blood that still ran down her face. Lilith was quiet now and Mara willed her legs to run faster, knowing that Lilith’s time was quickly coming to an end. As she was running, Mara pulled her hammer and ax from her tool belt. She could smell the blood now, the heady scent almost making her sick. She could make the faint outline of his body now, his fair hair almost glowing in the foggy night. He was pummeling the child, angered because Lilith quit screaming and fighting him. Mara sunk the ax into the base of his skull and felt the satisfaction of feeling the bone split under her blade.

Tell us three things about you that are interesting. 

Are you sure you want me to really answer this?!  Well, I am a huge animal lover and I advocate and network for rescues and shelter pets in my spare time.

I am a big nerd, I am considered my hometown’s historian/preservationist, I literally spend hours on end digitizing the towns history.

I am fascinated with the 40’s and 50’s and wish I could of lived in that time period, life was less complicated back then and the clothes and cars were fabulous!

You can follow my blog

My author page on FB

My Amazon author page

And if you like soy candles made by me, check out my Raven Hollow Candles or my Etsy shop 

(I gotta say, Ada's candles are amazing - I like them so much I gave them out as Christmas presents to all my friends because they are wonderful. The Caramel Apple Bake is my favorite so far of the ones I've tried.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Marscon 2013

This weekend upcoming is the annual Marscon science fiction/fantasy convention.

If you've never been to a sci-fi convention, I can't really recommend them highly enough. If you're a sci-fi geek, of course, and if the idea of being stuck in an elevator with a Klingon doesn't bother you. Sci-fi geeks run the gamut of weirdos. (Altho, to be perfectly honest, I only know a few geeks who are actually Sheldon levels of intolerable assholes.) But a sci-fi con is a great excuse to let your geek flag fly...

I usually go for the music - as you all know, I'm a huge fan of filking and supernatural folk music. There will be several performers there - Jonah Knight, Mikey Mason, Poison Dwarf, the Blithering Humdingers... and the writing workshops. This year, my editor Kristina Wright, and my fellow writer and best friend Elizabeth Brooks will be sitting erotica panels... so that should be fun!

The husband brought home print-outs of the schedule yesterday. Three copies.

He gave one copy to me, one to the kiddo, and kept one. Over the week, we're going to look at the schedule (there's almost 30 damn pages!!) and figure out what we want to do, what we can do, and what we will do. Having to juggle the kiddo back and forth, since she really can't go to a writing panel for writing about alien sex... (No, really! There's a panel for that!! And yes, I'm planning to go.)

Marscon has the huge benefit of 1) assuming that geeks are also old 2) and that they've actually managed to carry on conversations and relationships long enough that 3) they've had babies. 4) those babies are likely also geeks

There's a HUGE amount of family friendly programming and stuff specifically aimed at the younger geeks in the crowd.

The husband is taking Friday off so that we can leave as soon as the kiddo gets home from school (driving up to the peninsula can be horridly time-consuming) and the kid's got Monday off for MLK-day. So I might not get a lot of work done.

That being said, this whole sitting down in front of my computer for several hours with the stated agenda of Getting Shit Done seems to be remarkably more productive than I might have imagined.

Captive of My Desires, Johanna Lindsey cover
Artist: Alan Ayers
Yesterday I wrote almost 2,000 words.

It's been quite a while since I've been that productive. I wasn't tracking my word count very carefully last year, but I don't think I've had a day like that in a while. I wrote 1,200 words on my steampunk-vampire story, took a break, then came back upstairs and wrote about 600 words on Full Frontal Neighbor.

While making dinner, I thought about how to move the story along, and I head-worked a pretty good conversation between my main character and her best friend... much like me and my best friend, they're both in the novel business, but Claire, the best friend, is an editor and publisher. Mallory, the main character, is an artist. She's the one who paints the cover art...

And I was so determined not to forget the line that after dinner, I went back upstairs and wrote another 400 words or so, just so I could get to that conversation.

Here, enjoy a small snippet...

“Well, I have three covers. How’s your time? Can you do three in a month?”
“I have a couple in the drawer, that I painted just for funsies. Maybe one of those would fit. Otherwise, I got time for two. I’m still knee deep in the moving-in process. Stupid movers lost half my stuff and I’m just now getting it back.”

“You said. Which reminds me, your ex was poking about. Asked the new girl where you were living. She didn’t know, so she didn’t tell him. That guy just does not take no for an answer.”
“Tell me about it,” I grumbled. “I had to move back east to get away from him.” That wasn’t entirely true, but I wasn’t above blaming David for just about everything. It was one of my less attractive traits, but at the moment, I wasn’t worried about it. Claire hated him almost as much as I did. Neighbor boy stretched magnificently, and I stood there, silent in the darkness, watching him in all his masculine glory. There was a delicate, not quite unpleasant, ache between my legs. At least David had been good for one thing.
“… and I’ve got one collection of short stories about shape-changers,” Claire said. I drew my attention back to the conversation.

“Werewolves?” Great. I hated painting werewolves. Readers all had their own ideas of what lycanthropes should be, and inevitably, anything I painted would be all wrong for two-thirds of them.

“No, just shape-changers. Some of them turn into cats, or foxes. I think one of the stories has a guy who turns into a weasel.”
“All men turn into weasels, eventually.”
--Full Frontal Neighbor

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Promo For Under My Skin by Sommer Marsden

Nothing creepy about that, no...

Today, I bring to you my special guest, Sommer Marsden. (Check back here in a few weeks for some more personal time with Sommer... ) Her new book, Under My Skin, has just come out and wow, it sounds fantastic! I love Sommer's stuff, although she writes so much faster than I can read, so I have only made small dents into her production pile. But her werewolf series, Big Bad and Long Lost are excellent, and I so much adore the Zombie Exterminator series... I really like Urban Supernatural stuff. It's the orsumest!

Back Cover/Blurb

House bought for a steal online when it turns out there’s a damn good reason—check.

Malicious ghost with a body count to his name—check.

Sad, lingering female spirit pining for her still living (but currently dying) fiancĂ©—check.

What’s a widowed medium to do when a departed soul asks to ride piggy back in her body?

To share her space and get under her skin? Juliet Bale does the only thing she can do—with her twin sister’s good counsel—she lets Lanie share her body to help her dying beloved Elijah cross over. The problem is that with all the reuniting, and sharing one body, things get seriously intimate and Juliet can’t help but see exactly why Elijah Rivers was so beloved.

It’s so wrong to sorta kinda fall for a dying man, and yet—check.

Excerpt from Under My Skin 
© Sommer Marsden

“I’m telling you, Minnie, it feels off.” I tucked the phone under my chin and tried not to trip on the damn thing. My brand new kitchen had a way-old phone. It actually had a cord, for goodness’ sake.
“Off how? Off is relative when it comes to you, twin sister, dear.”
I snorted, and Minnie made a high-pitched sound that said she was laughing at me. “Har har.”
I slipped my silverware—triple wrapped in plastic—into my freshly washed and tidied drawer. I had just spent three hours wiping down the room and cleaning everything. I wanted it as spic and span as possible for me and my own energy. Most people don’t realize when you move in a new home, along with other people’s dirt, you get other people’s emotions.
“I mean, what is off, Juliet? Is the paint too bright or the window too small or…what?” My sister was mocking me.
“The energy,” I said, pushing a stack of brightly colored cake plates into a small side cabinet. “Don’t play dumb, Min. You haven’t just met me. You know, your sister…the sensitive. Resident psychic medium,” I chuckled, making a joke at my own expense.
I swore I heard her smile over the phone line. I could picture my sister in my mind. Same long unruly dirty blond hair as mine. Same startling blue eyes that could turn gray with mood, weather or depending on what color we wore. But we weren’t identical, we were fraternal. She was shorter and curvier than me, her nose just a bit sharper. And her tongue.
“Juliet, let’s face it, any place is going to be off to you, right? Any place you go is going to be steeped in someone else’s emotions and past, yes?”
“Yes,” I agreed, wiping my hands on my shirttails and leaning against the giant butcher block island in the center of the room. “True story.”
"Well, then, just deal with it. There is no clean space for you, really. Unless you build a brand new home from scratch and not a single worker has a bad day or an illness or any of that.”
I nodded even though she couldn’t see me. She was right.
“So take this new home and treat it as your own. Smear your own energy all over the place.”
I snorted, eyeing my shirt. It had been Justin’s. My heart crimped up at seeing it. Three years had not dulled my loss, and despite being psychically sensitive and talking to spirits more often than not, I had yet to see or talk to him. I wondered if it were somehow taboo for us to speak or if he thought it would be too painful for me to see him.
“Hello?” my sister sighed.
“Sorry, I hear you. You’re right. Though I don’t know about smearing my energy all over the place. Kind of makes me sound like a monkey—”
“Juliet!” she snapped, knowing where I was going with that analogy. “Onto other things. How are you doing? I mean…how are you doing?”
She meant moving out of the former home that Justin and I had shared before he died. She meant on my own. She meant finally embracing the fact that I was single and maybe moving on with my new life. Montgomery House was that chance. I mean, how often do you get to buy a house with a name? And I’d gotten it for a song. Which worried me, but…
“I’m fine,” I lied. “No worries.”
“I’m coming to see you soon,” she threatened, and I smiled.
“You’d better.”
* * * *
He was big—big and looming. But he was also thin. The kind of build that made the mind pull up images of a praying mantis or some ungodly sea creature trapped in the darkness near the ocean floor. Just seeing him turn his muddy eyes to me made my heart thunder.
“You’re here,” he said and smiled.
The smile was the most frightening aspect of his appearance. It twisted his face in such a way that it reminded me of a molded rubber mask that had gone askew. Almost as if his skin didn’t quite fit on his bones the right way.
I turned to run, and when I did, his long arm shot out to plant a big, strong hand on my shoulder. Being touched by him was like experiencing the most sudden and all-consuming emptiness imaginable. A sob ripped out of me.
“I thought three was my lucky number,” he said, his voice gravel turned under a tire. Sand scraped across stainless steel. It made my head hurt, and my heart followed suit.
I pulled against his strength, knowing I’d never break free until I awoke. I knew by the energy I was trapped in a dream. Knew he couldn’t really hurt me…not yet. But I also knew that as long as I slept, I was his. This was the secret my new house held. This energy. And this was where I’d be until I could drag myself back up to my conscious mind.
“Three what?” I managed, stalling.
“Three girls before you came.” The cadence of his words stirred goose bumps along my skin.
The fine hairs of my scalp prickled with dread.
“You killed them?”
“I consumed them,” he said. “Their essence.”
The urge to scream was overpowering. The urge to weep even stronger. Instead, I did the only thing I could do. I turned into his grip to face him. He looked surprised for a moment, his long rubbery face and his sick brown eyes showing shock. But then he smiled, and that hole seemed to open in my stomach again. I studied the face. The old-fashioned brown suit. The proper white buttoned-down shirt. Cufflinks, a tie clip, wingtip shoes and close-cropped hair.
Then I bit my tongue as hard as I possibly could and tasted blood. His face lit up when the coppery taste flooded my mouth. Maybe he could smell it. But then he realized what I’d done and frowned at me.
“You’ll be back,” he said. “I’m here all the time.”
I woke up.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Cutting to the Chase

"Cut to the chase" is a saying that means to get to the point without wasting time.
The phrase originated from early silent films. It was a favorite of and thought to have been coined by Hal Roach Sr (January 14, 1892 – November 2, 1992). Films, particularly comedies, often climaxed in chase scenes to add to film time. Some inexperienced screenwriter or director, unsure how to get to the climax or the lack of script to meet time requirements, would just make an abrupt transition, known as a cut.

So, sometimes I can be monumentally stupid.

Prone to exaggeration.

Eager to please.

And sometimes I can be all three of these things at once and get myself into quite a lot of trouble.

Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

I got an email from someone that's working with me on my novel. I'm supposed to be finished concept and cutting edits by April. (The whole novel, when finished, was over 170,000 words. Apparently I used to have a really huge problem with bloat. Not something that's happening as much anymore with my deep sea diving into the realm of shorter works...) R. tells me that I need to cut well over 50,000 words and probably 75,000 would be great!

Yesterday, I got an email in my box, "Hey girl, how are those edits going?"

Me, blithely, having taken notes on ALL chapters and actually followed up on those notes with full concept edits, but probably not cutting edits on 6 chapters... and not really thinking much about it... exaggerate a little.

"I've got it about 1/3 done or so. Ten chapters, or thereabouts. I pretty much trashed the entire Chapter Four. Oh, and Chapter 30. That one's gone, too."

Oh, I am such a freaking liar.

Well, not about Chapter Four. I did take that entire bit of nonsense out. The chapter originally had some purpose, to showcase the Male Protagonist's fighting skills and to keep things in line with the original plot... (my main plot has changed a few times...) But it wasn't fitting in as well any more and it introduced a very memorable, likable character that NEVER CAME BACK AT ALL. I love Dr. Roux more than I can express, but he was really unnecessary. And because he was so colorful, I had several beta readers who were angry and disappointed that he never showed up again. So I took out the whole thing. The party, the duel, the injury, the recovery. All of it. Whack, whack, whack.

"Kill your darlings." -- Stephen King. (A man, I might add, who could use a bit of darling killing himself...)

"Oh, great! I always worry that writers are falling behind. Go ahead and send it on to me, so I can look at it?"

Oh, Fuck Me.

Me, "Sure thing. Give me a bit of time to get it all reformatted and stuff. I'm working in Scrivener... Tomorrow or Friday?"

Soooo... I spent five hours last night busting my ass and getting the edits done that I said I'd done. On the plus side, I really have gone through and taken some comprehensive notes. And these are first draft edits to tighten up the plot, cut out the excess wording, and trying to make sure stuff is internally consistent throughout. I fully expect that I'll have to go through again and make more word-cuts. In fact I'm pretty sure of at least three chapters in the next 1/3 that can go, entirely.

Because I can skip all the exposition and cut straight to the chase.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Even Dozen

god, why did I post this picture? Now I'm hungry...

Eight days into the new year (my biggest problem with 2013? I keep typing 2913 by accident...) and I've already gotten my first story accepted!

So, now I'm up to 12 stories. A dozen! Since May of 2011. That's really, really not too shabby.

My story, Half the World Away, was accepted into Hot Ink Press's Valentine's day anthology, Cupid's Chokehold, Edited by Lainy Lane. I'll let you know when I have cover art and a Table of Contents.

Half the World Away was originally entitled P.B.E.M. (Play by E-mail) and sent off to elsewhere. Later, I wrote a second story, for the same anthology, which was accepted instead. Anyway, I shopped PBEM around for a while, and eventually found a good home for it. I know Lainy will take good care of Devin and Jackson...

Start watching this space on Thursdays; I'm going to start hosting some guest authors to do blogging posts.

And now... now, I think I'll go buy me some freaking doughnuts.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writer Calls For Wednesday

I usually post Calls for Submissions to my Facebook page, but as I'm trying to increase my traffic around here, I'm going to start posting Calls that I find here on Wednesday.

Victoria Blisse is the lovely woman who brought us the Smutters Advent Calendar. And Lucy Felthouse organizes several of the writers and book tours that have been featured here, as well as being dynamic writers and all around awesome ladies.

This is an unpaid publication, the Coming Together series all focus on donations to a charity. The due date for submissions is February 28th.

Coming Together: With Curves is a collection of Rubenesque erotica & erotic romance edited by two of the genre's leading ladies, Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse.

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology as well as any individual titles released in ebook or audiobook will benefit Parkinson's UK, an international charity.


We want big beautiful women. Curvy chicks. Rubenesque ladies. Send us your erotica or erotic romance tales of plus sized females and the men (and women!) who love them.

We like it hot. We want characters that can't keep their hands off one another... or themselves. Solo sex, twosomes, threesomes and moresomes are all acceptable, as long as there's at least one Rubenesque lady involved.

Give us unique settings, intriguing storylines and above all, send us a story that will stand out from the crowd.

Stories can be set in any time period, and we also welcome paranormal tales, as long as the big beautiful woman is an integral part of the plot.

Make us laugh, make us cry (though not too much!), but most importantly, make us horny. Make us wildly jealous of the sexual adventures and experiences the plus sized chicks are having and you're along the right lines.

Keep your stories legal. We don't want any of the usual taboos; underage, bestiality, snuff, etc... if you're not sure, just ask.

Stories should be between 2,500 and 7,500 words. Exceptions will be made for outstanding stories. Previously published work is acceptable, but make sure that your right to submit the story for publication is clear. Please note that stories over 5000 words can be individually released as an ebook as well as appear in the anthology. All profits from single releases will also benefit Parkinson’s UK.

Please submit .DOC or .DOCX manuscripts to (cc: with "Submission for Coming Together: With Curves" in the subject line. Questions can be sent to the same address. Format should be Times New Roman 12pt font, 1 inch margins, double spaced and have the first line of each paragraph indented (not tabbed or spaced). Please title your document as follows: "Story Title_Author Name". Do not add anything to the header or footer of your document. Include a brief (150-ish word) biography in your email.

This is a charity anthology, there will be no payment to the authors or editors beyond a PDF contributor copy of the collection. Instead, all proceeds will benefit Parkinson's UK, a support and research charity. For more than 40 years they've been working to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's. Find out more about them here:

Submissions close on February 28th, with a tentative publication date of May 1st.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Doing this thing...

When Jonah was here for my house concert, he did a lot of patter and talking between song sets. I personally found this fascinating and almost better than the songs themselves. I mean, I like the songs, don't get me wrong, but to me the best part of a concert is getting to know the artist a little better.

(On one of my first not-quite-dates with the husband - aside, I was dating someone else at the time, but husband tagged along with us, and I sat between the two men, and both me and the husband consider the concert fondly and part of several long-standing personal jokes. Ok, when is this aside going to end? - we went to see Spin Doctors, Gin Blossoms and Cracker in concert. With some weird flavor of the month drummer named Vince performing in between. He was terrible. Just so you know. I don't think I've ever, ever seen a more terrible musical act, and that includes the 2nd grade piano recitals that I've been dragged to. No one should ever be dragged to those who loves music and is not related to the performers. Anyway, Cracker was very, very tired of being on tour and tried to get the audience cheering about them only having four more days until their tour was over. The audience, needless to say, was unimpressed. I mean, I'm sorry they were tired, I really, really am, but we paid just as much for our tickets as the people in Vancouver who were their 2nd tour stop, so we felt a little ripped off. Or at least I did. And I never, ever bought another Cracker album. I'm sure that, financially speaking, this didn't hurt them any... but it just goes to show you... knowing how to talk to your audience is IMPORTANT.)

Ok... now that my cold medicine has had it's say in my morning...

What the hell was I talking about? Oh! Right.

Jonah said, "The thing about doing this for a while is that I get to begin a lot of stories with 'well, it was the first time I did this...' and then tell an interesting story about the first time I wrote a song about a ghost. Or the first time I performed a song cover. Or the first time a political group in Germany wrote me to ask if they could use my music as a rallying soundtrack."

I've been doing this writing gig for a while now. And the publishing gig for almost two years. Well, two years in May. So I'm starting to collect my own set of "firsts."

The first week on the "trying to treat this writing thing like an actual job..." I had to take my first sick day.

Really, that just doesn't sound like a cool story. But my whole house has the flu. Like, the actual flu. Not man-flu or a bad cold, but actual influenza. Really? I didn't know people actually got the flu anymore... I thought it was just what people said when they had a cold and wanted to feel like they deserved to take some time off. (Personally, I believe that having a cold is damn miserable and we SHOULD take sick days for that, but for whatever reason, "society" has decided that "just a cold" is "wimping out." Whatev.)

Despite that, I got a story out the door last night... so, there's that. I also finished up my first ultra-short for the collection Elizabeth L. Brooks and I are working on together. (So did she. So, since those are "due" each Wednesday, we're both ahead of schedule. Yay!)

I've talked over my ideas for a story with Liz and agreed to beta read and help her edit her story in a few weeks.

I've put together a couple of guest posts for this blog - they'll start airing on January 17th and right now I have a guest blogger every Thursday until March 7th, so that's cool.

In the meanwhile, I need to get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids and not kill the other two sick people in my house because we're all exceptionally cranky.

Because really... killing someone would be a first. So would going to prison, but I think I'll give it a miss.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My First "Work Week"

Here I am.

This was a half-week - the husband was on vacation until the 1st. On Wednesday, everyone went back to work or school. Yeah, that was fun. I live in a house full of sloths. I kept trying to convince both (or either) of them that they needed to start thinking about, MAYBE, going to bed early and getting up somewhere in the actual A.M.

Yeah, right.

So, I had to make schedule adjustments, but I got a lot done this week.

Wrote a little over 1,500 words, took care of a lot of blog administrative stuff, including writing up author interviews (I'm going to start hosting other writers on my blog, generally on Thursdays, starting the 17th of January...) and getting slots set up. I still have one slot open, the 21st of February. (Which happens to be my 15th anniversary!)

I got some prompts for the ultra-short collection, and I've written the first one. Liz and I talked about it and we're going to set up Wednesdays as our "due dates" for the stories; which is to say we need to give them to each other by Wednesday. I'm ahead for the week, since this one's not due until the 9th. How about them apples?

So, my first short-short, written from Jeannie's prompt... was finished yesterday, wrapping up at ~1,000 words. And I worked about an hour of "over-time."

(I'm going to mark that down somewhere, so that when I end up cleaning frantically, or have something to do or just do NOT feel like going "in to work" today, I have a built up bank of extra hours...)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

He Loves me...

So, you can get your e-copy of He Loves me for My Brainsss from Torquere...

Thought I'd give you a little sample today...

“Wish you didn’t have to go,” Avesy said, drawing a teasing line down his chest, finger tracing along the waistband of his trousers. Korin forced a half-smile, heart aching.
“I wish you wouldn’t talk about it,” Korin answered. He snatched at the teasing hand, jerked Avesy’s arm down, placed his palm firmly against Korin’s straining erection, ground his hips against his lover’s fingers. He groaned at the touch, then roughly pushed his lover onto his back. Korin tore the buttons free in his eagerness to get his pants off, much too eager, he was going to cream his pants right there if he didn’t get what he wanted, what he needed. There was nothing but hot desire in Avesy’s eyes and Korin let himself sink into those eyes, sink in and drown there, not looking away.
He’d tasted Avesy’s lips a hundred times and more, but tonight, this one night, was sweeter and more bitter than any flavor he could ever imagine. The last time, the very last. And even having memorized every line of his face, every soft nuzzle of his mouth, Korin was startled all over again at how intoxicating those sweet kisses were. How full and lush his mouth was, how heavy his breath, and how Korin’s entire body turned to fire with the simple touch. Like wine. 

Well, I had to move my work hours around immediately, since I discovered that on those days I need to take the husband to work, I don't get back to the house until almost 8:30. So... guess I'll start at 9am. No worries.

I did do some writing on the 1st, even though technically I was still on vacation. I decided to work on my story for a Valentine's Anthology. I was specifically asked to submit, if I could, and I admit that that's flattering.

I'm running a Shadowrun paper and dice game at the moment, and cyberpunk (and cyber sex!) are on my mind recently. What would it be like, to be able to jack into your partner's head, feel what they're feeling? Sometimes it could be really amazing, and sometimes, not so much. I'm exploring that, with the help of two characters, Adria Benn-Parker, a character who's been hanging about in my head for a while and needed something to do, and a new fellow who just showed up recently, Cyberius Jann. We'll see how that goes. It's a pretty tight deadline, so we'll see if I can get something put together by mid-month.

Hey, my first ultra-short story is due to my partner on the 9th (that's going to be the established pattern for the time being, we'll exchange our shorts on Wednesday...) So, I could use some prompts, please. One noun, one verb, one adjective, and two random words of your choice. Please, help a writer out, here?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Return of the Kings

So, I finally get to talk about the project that I worked on last year...

I have this friend out in California (I swear, I have a ton of friends in California, really... should I ever get bored with this coast, I'll have a built in social-life somewhere else...) who is a writer and a dreamer and an all around geek... and he - much like I do - has a collection of artistic, writer, geeky friends. And for his 45th birthday, we all got together and made him this... book.


Cthulu and Rubber Duckies. Squids and mechnical Dragons. Elvis's reanimated colon vs. Hastur.

We wrote round-robin. Each person getting about three weeks to write up their chapter, building off what had already been written. Because of personal issues - I went to second to last. Originally I'd been scheduled to write in May, but with the move, I just didn't have time.

But that meant I got to help direct the story toward some sort of resolution, and in a fit of inspiration, I actually titled the story... I admit to some inspiration by Tom Smith

Well, it just went from there... I mean, Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll, and Hastur is described frequently as "The King in Yellow."

It was a delightful project, even if I had to write frantically to get several things done all at once. (I had my chapter due Oct 23rd, and then a short story due Oct 31st, (W.O.L.) and another one due Nov 1st (Holiday Hours) and the fact that I not only got all three of them done, but accepted and published... well.. that just shows you how awesome I am, right?)

Now, as I understand it from Jennifer, the woman who did the final edits and arranged all this mayhem, Return of the Kings will be available to the general public on Amazon and Lulu, rather soonish. I'll keep you posted on that, if you want your own copy... any proceeds made from sale of the book will be donated to a charity - Clarion Foundation is the one currently under discussion.

Oh, and just to keep you informed and updated, W.O.L. is out today. Here's the link for Torquere's site, and I'll get the paperback one up as soon as I find it...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The world didn't end

That's a text I got from a friend of mine on December 22nd.

"The world didn't end. Now I have to do my Christmas Shopping. Crap."

Yeah, that happens. If you wait until something happens, or doesn't happen... sometimes you end up doing shopping at the very last minute, and panicking.

Even if, sometimes, you don't do what you meant to do. I set a bunch of very specific goals last year and accomplished almost none of them.

So, flexibility is good, too.

Now, admittedly, I have it pretty good. I don't have a public sector job. (I used to say "real job" but fuck you, being a mother, housekeeper, and writer is a real goddamn job and I bet I work harder than a lot of people out there who punch a clock....) While this has its drawbacks (no vacation, no sick days, no clear-set career goals, and strangely enough, sometimes not having a boss is a lack I keenly feel...) it also has its benefits. I won't say I have a ton of free time, because let's face it, I really don't. And I don't work a "shift" and then get to be off-shift. I am always on-call as mom. I am always on-call as housekeeper. And I'd have to be in a coma to stop worrying about stories and ideas.

But I can arrange my time as I see fit.

So my goals are slightly different this year. While I still have a ton of projects that I want to do, and stories that want to be told, I'm going to try something else.

I want to arrange my time a little better.

I'm not, perhaps at this time, ready to dedicate myself to being a full-time, 9-12 hours a day, writer. I'm not ready to say I will write 3,000 words a day. (I know people who do that and it always makes me feel a little bit like a slacker... ) What I am ready to do, however, is start treating my writing as a job.

I want my butt in the chair from 8am until 1pm. Daily.

I have several projects I want to work on, and I'm not going to get those done if I'm playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I'd like to be even more structured than that; I have an ultra-short story collection that we want to have done and ready to present to a publisher by end of Summer, so I'm going to set one day aside to work on those stories. (Here's where you, dear reader, come in... I'll need flash-fiction prompts to get me started. At any time, feel free to leave a five word prompt; at least one noun, one verb, one adjective, and 2 words of your choice. If I select your prompt, you WILL get credit in any finished product... )

I want to set one day aside to work on other short-story projects. I keep saying I should work on longer projects, and I will, but I also have a really hard time passing Submission Calls by. I love Submission calls. So, one day a week, I'll work on whatever Sub-Call I happen to find interesting.

Two days a week will be set aside for work on my longer novels and projects.

And one day will be set aside to edit my novel.

Also, I'd like to do more with my blog. I know I'm a sporatic blogger, I thought I'd try to get a little more active here... have some contests, some guest bloggers, and other things... we'll see. I can't promise the moon. And really, do you want to have to dust that thing if I gave it to you?

Anyway, much love, luck, and lust in 2013...